AP teams have one central mission: to accurately track invoices and ensure vendor payments are approved and completed on a timely basis.
Companies that use AP automation software know that such technology can streamline many of these functions, not only saving time and reducing processing errors, but also giving management something invaluable to any business: greater cash flow visibility.
Still, even the best AP automation solution won't make your AP operations as efficient as they can be if you're still issuing checks by hand and manually verifying transactions and vendors.
Here's where adding integrated payables functionality to your AP automation software can make a huge difference.
Integrated Payments Pay Off
Integrated payment automation makes every step of the invoice handling and payment process easier, more transparent and accurate. It also helps foster good relationships with vendors, who will appreciate being able to get paid faster over a multitude of payment types, including ACH, credit cards, debit cards and even checks. And it frees up AP staff to focus on higher value work.
Investing in more efficient payment processing is essential as B2B electronic payments increasingly become the norm. The average business will make over 1,400 domestic payments per year globally by 2027, so improving efficiency in payment processes is critical.
Combining AP automation software and an integrated payments solution will create operational efficiencies that can help maximize cash flow and reduce operating costs. In this way, modern AP departments become more of a profit center, and a more strategic branch of the organization. That's a formula for better results — and more recognition from the C-suite for a job well done.
Here are five ways that integrating payments into your AP automation software will help you and your AP team work smarter and more efficiently:
Without integrated payables, paying an invoice can be a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. For instance, when issuing a batch of ACH payments without automation, an accountant would need to:
- Run an invoice aging report to see which payments are due
- Check to see which vendors accept ACH payments
- Log into their bank to get each vendor’s ACH information and process payment
None of that is necessary when you use AP automation software with integrated payment functionality, which houses all of the information in one place. Because the software integrates with your ERP, there’s no need to log in separately to a banking platform to retrieve vendor ACH information and remit the payment.
The seamless integration and centralized approach means fewer moving parts, and the AP team won't have to learn to navigate one or more different software platforms. In other words, a process that once took three separate steps and three different platforms / logins, can be completed in one simple step — for any kind of payment.
Faster Payment Processing
Being able to clear invoice payments and process them automatically is a win for businesses on many levels.
First, you'll save time by optimizing the key steps in the vendor payment process. No more combing through AP aging summary reports, cutting checks, and waiting for them to be delivered via post.
You can also quickly manage invoice approvals on the fly. With DocuPhase, invoices can be approved directly from an email that you can access on your phone. No need to be sitting at your computer, or log into the platform.
Assigning customized rules to payments also maximizes speed and efficiency. For example, you could set a rule that any invoice under a certain amount that has been captured and validated via OCR can be processed all the way through to payment remittance.
And even when a vendor prefers being paid by check in the mail, an automated payments solution speeds up the printing, cutting and mailing of the checks because it's all being handled on the same platform.
Automated payment processing can also help limit costs from payments that fail to be fully processed. Such exception items often happen because of simple mistakes that typically cause errors when processing checks, credit cards or ACH transfers. An automated payment solution is key to minimize exception items because it reduces human error and easily flags and fixes any issues.
AP automation software with integrated payables functionality allows you to have real-time visibility into every invoice and transaction in your AP audit trail. That means immediate and comprehensive insight so you can quickly determine the status of your payments and invoices.
Consider the multiple steps you have to go through if you do this manually. You would need to run an aging report to see what transactions are outstanding, then you would have to check the bank to see when checks have cleared. And you'd have to repeat this process every time you want to get an update on the status of your payments.
With integrated payables, you only have to log into one platform and you can see the up-to-the minute status of all your payments, whether they're being processed, have already cleared or are cued up for future processing.
This makes it simple to determine which items have already been paid, and which ones are scheduled to be paid. Payment tracking is key in getting ahead of any potential problems with vendor payments. And greater visibility into AP is a precursor to developing more accurate cash flow management.
An AP automation platform integrated with payments functionality will lower your operating costs in many ways. By automating vendor invoice payments, AP teams can capitalize on early payment discounts while avoiding the potential financial consequences of late payments.
You'll notch more savings by streamlining repetitive tasks, such as processing payments, electronically sending out invoices and automated past-due notices, and keeping all payments and related documentation organized.
This frees up AP personnel to do more essential work that can help boost profits, such as analyzing data to grow your business or ensuring your company is taking advantage of early vendor payment discounts.
AP automation helps lower operating expenses by eliminating or significantly reducing paper-based transactions and the need for envelopes or postage for mailed checks. It also simplifies the retrieval of payment and remittance data and reduces costly errors.
Better Vendor Relationships
Companies rely on vendors for essential supplies and business services, so it's crucial that they manage their vendor relationships wisely. Payment automation can go a long way toward making vendors happy, because it ensures they get paid fast, regardless of the payment method.
Vendors will also be happier working with you when they know their payment information is handled securely. Leading AP automation software providers like DocuPhase hold extensive digital security compliance certifications, including HIPAA, PCI and Safe Harbor.
Ensuring vendors get paid reliably is just the beginning. Integrated payables software will allow your vendors to self-serve, so they can upload invoices, track their status and even communicate with AP teams via an integrated portal.
This interface will help AP teams provide the best user experience for their vendors and position themselves as a business they want to partner with and support for the long term.
All of this allows AP managers to become better negotiators and drive results back to the business.
Ready to Level Up Your AP Operations?
Adding an integrated payment functionality to your AP automation software can be a game changer for your company, delivering cost savings and better cash flow management while ensuring you can quickly pay vendor invoices across a wide variety of payment methods.
DocuPhase's payment automation solution integrates seamlessly with AP systems, as well as a company's existing ERP. It can manage complex AP workflows, resulting in problem-free customer and vendor transactions, faster and more reliable payment processing, and cost savings from reduced AP errors. It also fully supports cloud integration.
Ready to see how integrating payments into your AP automation software can help your AP team streamline its tasks and win points with management? Request a demo today.